GourMay is now well and truly underway with seven days of quality dishes from some of Canberra’s renowned restaurants showcased on our GourMay platform already!
Here is a wrap of what we have tried and tested so far for those who haven’t been keeping up. Stay up-to-date this month by following our daily GourMay uploads on the website, Facebook and Instagram.
In week one we were lucky enough to have RAKU, Turkish Pide House, Hale + Mary, Akiba, Capitol Bar & Grill, Kokomo’s and Belluci’s share a gourmet dish with us.
Though that sounds hard to beat, to give a little insight into week two – without giving too much away – fancy pants restaurants Monster and Sage Dining Rooms are both on the schedule.
RAKU: Aburi Hotate
We kicked off GourMay with a restaurant which has been welcomed by locals with open arms. RAKU encapsulates the gourmet food experience with their precision and artfulness of Japanese culinary history. Plated beautifully here is the Aburi Hotate; a Canadian scallop charcoal grilled over an open flame with pickled green apple, jalapeno dressing and garlic mayonnaise. The scallop is the most delectable mouth-size bite, exploding with flavour.
This seafood delight pairs well with a lighter, clearer sake. The chef recommended trying the Chikuma Nishiki; it suited the crispness of the grilled scallop and complemented its simplicity, while cutting through the perfectly paired dressings.
Turkish Pide House: Lamb Rack ala Turk
Turkish Pide House Woden offer a rich gourmet experience. Their Lamb Rack ala Turk is one of the chefs’ fusion specials, incorporating Mediterranean flavours with other cultures. This hearty rack of lamb is a mix of Turkish and Aussie and definitely won’t leave you unsatisfied. Rested on a bed of eggplant mash and complemented with a wine-red jus, a Turkish kick is added by incorporating a pomegranate molasses for a subtle sweetness.
The team recommended a Turkish wine that goes by the title Kavaklidere. For the wine connoisseurs, it is best associated with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Petit Verdot. Known for its bright fuchsia colour, the wine has intense notes of sour cherry and blackberry aromas.
Hale + Mary: Macadamia Crusted Pork Cutlet
Heading into winter Hale +Mary in Kingston have adapted their menu to include a selection of gourmet mains. The Macadamia Crusted Pork Cutlet has all the best qualities of a Sunday roast served to restaurant standards. With a side of crushed sweet potatoes, left slightly chunky to absorb the sweeter flavours from the homemade apple chutney. Healthy green beans add the right amount of crunch to the hearty dish. The juicy pork cutlet itself is a generous 300g serving, smothered in a macadamia crust and showcased as a feature in the middle of the plate.
The cutlet would pair well with a dry or firm body white wine, though the chef recommended the 2017 Nick O’Leary Riesling. She said a white pairing works well with pork – being a white meat – whereas a red would overpower the subtle flavours of sage and chutney.
Akiba: Miso Dengaku Eggplant
The Miso Dengaku Eggplant with Akiba-style Furikake is one the standouts favourites among most Akiba fans as it’s vegan and gluten-free as well as incredibly delicious. It was created by the sashimi chef and finished off with pepita, puffed rice, and nori to provide a crunch to the gourmet creation. First, they score the eggplant before deep frying allowing the flesh to become extremely soft. The miso adds a sweet, rich hit of flavour before the eggplant is blowtorched and the furikake garnish is sprinkled over the top. Overall a share dish which is a really exciting way to devour eggplant.
In a collaboration with Lark Hill Winery, the Akiba Electric Red 2017 was created to suit a handful of the menu. Among those pairing nicely with the Pinot Noir is the popular eggplant dish, the light pinot holds just the right among of acid to cut through the sweetness of the miso.
Capitol Bar & Grill: Bistecca Fiorentina
A prime cut steak from QT Canberra’s Capitol Bar & Grill will have you salivating at the beautiful sight. This T-Bone “Bistecca Fiorentina” Dry Aged is cut from the short loin of the cow and contains a smaller section of tenderloin. The T-Bone Capitol Bar and Grill serves is dry aged in house for a minimum of 21 days to a maximum of 28 days. Grass Fed, from Cape Grim, North West Tasmania. This beef is guaranteed to be the best meat you will taste. The T-Bone is grilled on a wood-fired grill and served with an enticing Salsa Erbe on top.
Matched with the iconic Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2016 from the Canberra District, a vintage which sits confidently next to such a tender cut.
Kokomo’s: Golband Snapper
Kokomo’s Golband Snapper with yellow soybean dressing, rested on a bed of Asian salad is a light and refreshing way to indulge in gourmet dining. The tropical catch is pan-fried and has a salty kick to it. Coriander, mint, cucumber and tomatoes are dressed together with bean shoots to bring the gourmet dish together. The snapper is then completed with a chilli lime caramel dressing and garlic chips.
The light dish is best paired with the Bitter Summer crushed cocktail – you’ll be whisked away from the cooler Canberra climate into a tropical escape with the combination of these two. Quality ingredients is what makes this beverage gourmet, Monopolowa Gin and Capari paired with ruby red grapefruit, and topped with mint sprig compliment the freshness of the fish. The bitterness of the cocktail ensures the sweet caramel, intense garlic and chilli spice are well balance.
Belluci’s: Baked Rotolo
Belluci’s in Manuka prepared us a dish fitting to GourMay for both its quality and its seasonal attributes. The Baked Rotolo is notable firstly for its handmade pasta rolled around an exceptional filling of caramelised pumpkin, toasted pine nuts, and Yarra Valley Persian fetta. The pasta is baked until crisp and served with sauté baby spinach. The rotolo is then shown a little more love with an aromatic burnt sage butter and freshly grated Grana Padano over the top. Pumpkin and autumn go hand-in-hand, with this warmer sure to be a favourite all through winter as well.
It would be rude not to pair with an Italian wine; the 2014 Suavia Massifitti works well in particular as it’s bold enough to hold up next to the well-seasoned dish and flavourful sauce.